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dry pond with out bentonite for ponds

Bentonite for Ponds

A guide to using Sodium Bentonite Clay as Pond Sealant

When building a new pond or restoring an old pond you may find that the pond is not holding water. It’s not an uncommon occurrence within our customers to purchase land with “what seemed to be a pond, but doesn’t hold any water”. In any case, you may need to consider water seepage as a possible cause.

Sand, rock and gravel leave small gaps, through which the water slowly seeps. Sodium bentonite is your best ally to solve this problem. Bentonite will find its way inside those small holes and gaps of the soil, and then it will swell at the contact with water, thus creating a seal that will prevent water seepage, making it a great pond sealant and liner.

Bentonite pond sealant is a powdered mineral clay that will blend seamlessly with the ecology of your pond. It is free of chemical additions or hazardous materials, therefore you can safely hold it in your hands, use it for a fish or a duck pond, or a wildlife pond. It is especially ideal for stock and farm ponds because it won’t be damaged by the steps and weight of the stock.

If you have nearby vegetation, it is also a great option, because if the plants can’t or won’t be removed, you can arrange the bentonite over it and it will significantly reduce the water seepage, if not eliminate it, without any damage to the ecosystem.

Amount of Bentonite Pond Sealant Required

How much bentonite do you need for your pond? The amount of sodium bentonite pond sealer required will vary depending mainly on the soil conditions of the property. Keep in mind that the area of the pond bottom is not the same as the water surface area.

In general terms, you can use this table as a broad reference of how much bentonite needs to be added to the pond:

Type Of Soil Bentonite required
Rock or Gravel 5 lbs per sqft
Sand Soil 4 lbs per sqft
Silt Soil 3 lbs per sqft
Clay Soil 2 lbs per sqft

Where to buy Sodium Bentonite Clay for ponds

Now that you know the amount of bentonite required for your project, you will need to source the product. Look for a bentonite wholesaler near you or a supplier that delivers nationwide. In my experience, 90% of the success of using bentonite as a pond sealant is knowing how to apply it to your particular pond situation effectively. You want a bentonite supplier that can walk you through each step of the process and that can answer any questions you may have along the way, especially if you choose to do it yourself.

Lonestar Minerals, using the expertise of more than 50 years in the field, has developed its own “formula” for pond sealers, using sodium bentonite as the only ingredient. We use a mix of different grain sizes, milled and packed at our ISO-9001 processing plant. We test each and every batch leaving our plant to guarantee its quality.

The mix of bentonite particles and granular bentonite allows us to take advantage of the properties of both grain sizes, helping reduce the amount of bentonite required per square foot* (*compared to other sources of bentonite clay for ponds).

We work with an extensive net of deliverers and can reach most states of the United States within 1-2 days. We can provide from a single 5 gallon bucket with 50 lbs of bentonite pond sealant up to full truckloads of bentonite for new pond construction, delivered in paper bags or 3,000 pounds super sacks.

With Lonestar Minerals you can expect competitive pricing, extensive expertise, great quality product, and turnkey service.

How to Apply Bentonite to a Pond

We can’t stress enough the importance of the application of bentonite clay. Application is key for success. It is the difference between a full pond for years to come or headaches year after year.

While we provide a quick application guide here, contact us if you need more information about applying bentonite pond sealant or if you have any questions about bentonite clay.

There are 3 methods used to apply bentonite pond sealant to a pond:

The Blanket Method
This method for bentonite pond sealant application is probably the most popular, as its effectiveness is quite high. The pond needs to be dry (or almost dry) in order to apply the bentonite.
The first step in this method is to remove debris and unwanted material from the bottom surface of the pond. Depending on the size of the pond, it could be done by hand or using machinery to aid the process.
Once this step is finalized, remove 5-6 inches of soil from the bottom of the pond, we will put them back in later. If your pond is big enough to use machinery, make sure you keep the soil close to the edges of the pond, so it is easy to put it back later.
Now it’s time to apply a layer of the sodium bentonite pond sealer, as evenly as possible throughout the pond bottom. Create a nice even blanket with the pond sealant and proceed to cover it with the soil you removed in the earlier steps.
Now it is ready to be filled with water. Avoid disrupting the layers created before, making sure the water flow is gentle.

The Mixed Blanket Method
This method draws its name from the fact that is similar to the above. It is used in cases where the integrity of the bentonite layer may be compromised due to weather or other environmental conditions.
As before, the first step in this method is to remove debris.
Then we will need to prepare the soil to receive an even coat of bentonite by raking or disk harrowing about 6-8 inches of soil.
Apply an even bentonite layer and mix it into the soil by raking or tilling to create a single layer of bentonite-soil mix about 6-8 inches deep is created.
Press the layer in, to compact the mixed materials as much as possible.
Ready to fill. Make sure you do so with a steady water flow to avoid eroding the layer you have just created.

Seal isolated leaks – The Sprinkle Method
Quite often a customer will contact us to report the pond’s dam is leaking. In those cases, a possible solution to this problem is a spot treatment, which is a variant of the sprinkle method but applied only in the identified area around the dam that is leaking. It doesn’t apply only to the case with the dam, any case where you have a single point of leakage may be treated with spot treatment.
This method is used when, for any reason, the pond can’t be drained. Use granular bentonite and sprinkle the granules over the surface of the water. Distribute the bentonite as evenly as possible around the area that needs to be treated. The granules will sink to the bottom of the pond, where they will seep their way into the ground to fill holes, gaps, and crevices that may be found at the bottom of the pond. Then they will swell, effectively preventing water seepage.

Ready to get started?

So, now you know what is bentonite, where to source it, and how to apply it. Time to get your hands dirty. If you have any questions or concerns about your particular case, contact us. Our experts can help you obtain the best possible results.

Lonestar Minerals offers you, as additional services, the Pond Repair, Pond Design, and Pond Construction services, nationwide.

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